Letter: Sloppy logic in last week’s editorial

Posted 8/11/21

To the editor:

Newspaper editorials have long played an important role staking positions within a community that may be unpopular but necessary to consider. I have long admired the Times-Gazette …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Not a subscriber?


Start a Subscription

Sign up to start a subscription today! Click here to see your options.

Purchase a day pass

Purchase 24 hours of website access for $2. Click here to continue

Day pass subscribers

Are you a day pass subscriber who needs to log in? Click here to continue.


Letter: Sloppy logic in last week’s editorial

Posted

To the editor:

Newspaper editorials have long played an important role staking positions within a community that may be unpopular but necessary to consider. I have long admired the Times-Gazette for sometimes championing such positions.

The editorial “Set the Students Free” is a terrible editorial, not because of the position it claims, but because of its sloppy logic, careless use of language, and lack of informed standing.

In reverse order, apart from its own sentiment the editorial offers no evidence that unmasking school children is safe to do at this time. If the editorial board knows something that the CDC does, or that other agencies charged with studying disease and recommending ways to avoid it do, let’s see it. As is, the editorial has no grounds – or at least offers none -- upon which it asks the community to consider its position. That’s not just weak journalism, conceivably it could be much worse: advocating unmasking schoolchildren, with no evidence that doing so will be safe, is socially irresponsible and reckless. Too much is unknown about the virus and its mutations for this or any news source to be so cavalier.

As for its careless use of language, unless the editorial is aiming at Foxifying this page, perhaps it can steer clear of inflated language. “Big government” – whatever that is – resonates with the kind of ominousness associated with Big Pharma, Big Oil, Big Coal, enterprises a few steps short of the Evil Empire. And as for “Setting Students Free,” that hyperbole is an insult to anyone who has actually ever been in bondage or has lost their  liberties. Requiring someone, be it student or adult, to put on a mask for the safety of self and others is not an act of imprisonment. Prison is form of imprisonment; wearing a mask is a form of protection.

Finally, the logic in this piece is deeply flawed. Its lament that “the children have already given so much in this pandemic” as justification for arguing against masks conflates the fact that what the children gave resulted from a virus spiraling out of control for which steps were taken to keep it from spiraling further out of control – perhaps to save children’s lives or the lives of their loved ones. Moving online, social distancing, suspension of sports, etc., were attempts at containment, and within the greater scheme of things, mask-wearing played an insignificant part, if at all, in what the students “gave up.” Perhaps the editorial board can elaborate: What, exactly then, will students be giving up if required to wear masks?

I could go on. The more I reread this editorial the more appalling it gets. If this editorial is indicative of the “voice” the Times-Gazette will have in the future, it will be a voice without my subscription.

Jerry Blitefield

Warren

2021 by East Bay Newspapers

Barrington · Bristol · East Providence · Little Compton · Portsmouth · Tiverton · Warren · Westport
Meet our staff
Mike Rego

Mike Rego has worked at East Bay Newspapers since 2001, helping the company launch The Westport Shorelines. He soon after became a Sports Editor, spending the next 10-plus years in that role before taking over as editor of The East Providence Post in February of 2012. To contact Mike about The Post or to submit information, suggest story ideas or photo opportunities, etc. in East Providence, email mrego@eastbaymediagroup.com.